Demonstrations against the CPE
This is a photo story of some of the demonstrations in Paris against the CPE (First Employment Contract), a new labour law passed by the government despite a majority of the French population being against it.

This law, backed by French PM Dominique de Villepin, will create a new form of two-year contract for under-26-year-olds, which employers can break off at any time without explanation.

The protests of March 18th, all across the country, were joined not only by students but by their families. Unfortunately, as is too often the case, the end of the day was spoiled by 100 to 150 "casseurs" (lit. "breakers", hooligans) who provoked the riot police throwing bottles, stones and finally burning down a car.

On March 23rd, a university and college students demonstration turned even more violent, with various cars and shops burnt, protesters and photographers assaulted and robbed, and the Invalides turned into a battlefield.

On March 28th, the largest demonstration gathered almost 3 million people all across France (according to the organizers , 1m according to the police). As usual, some riots erupted in the end, although less violent than previously.

On March 31st, at 8pm, President Chirac announced the promulgation of the CPE law, while calling for negotiation and dialogue with all parties. A spontaneous demonstration started from Bastille and criss-crossed Paris for various hours, gathering 3 to 5 thousands.

April 4th: the CPE law has been promulgated on 2 April, but President Jacques Chirac pledged that it would be amended and the government asked employers not to apply it immediately. Meanwhile, the anti-CPE movement hasn't backed down: a national strike was called and massive rallies were held throughout France on April 4th, drawing as many participants as on March 28th (1 to 3 millions nation-wide).

After the unrest and riots in the suburbs last year, this is reflecting the growing uneasiness and despair of the youth about the lack of opportunities, and their desillusion towards the politicians.

More than 20% of 18 to 25-year-olds are unemployed (double the national average) and among the poorest communities, it reaches 40%. Half of France's universities are now under some form of strike or occupation.

This set was featured on the LCI news channel website and an excerpt won the 1st place in the National Press Photographers Association - Best of Photojournalism 2007 contest (Amateur Blogs / News category).

Please check these 4 great sets about the events by other Flickr members:
- Charlotte Gonzalez
- Stuart Isett
- Pierre-Emmanuel Weck
- Gregory Chinon
142 photos · 37,867 views